Rangers can't recover from Grimm's struggles
Righty allows seven runs before exiting with injury in fourth inning
DETROIT -- Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski was asked if he has ever seen a starting rotation go through something like this.
"You mean guys dropping like flies?" Pierzynski asked.
Yeah, something like that.
"No," Pierzynski said. "We've got a whole pitching staff on the [disabled list]. We're fighting and clawing and doing everything we can, but at some point you just say 'Uncle!'"
Either that or just hold on until the All-Star break comes on Monday. Justin Grimm is the latest Rangers starting pitcher to go down as he left Friday's 7-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park after 3 1/3 innings with soreness in his right forearm. The Rangers are hoping it's not serious, but this is a team that already has seven pitchers on the disabled list.
"When I was throwing, I was pain-free," Grimm said. "But it would stiffen up after I would sit around for a while. I'd have to get it loose again. I wanted to stay out there and battled. This is not what we need for the team right now, but the decision was made to take me out."
Grimm had already had a rough night, allowing seven runs in the first two innings, and the Rangers lost their third straight game. But Grimm did not blame his early struggles on his forearm.
"It had nothing to do with it," said Grimm, who allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base in a five-run first inning.
"It was his location," manager Ron Washington said. "He left too many balls over the plate. You can't let those guys get extended, you've got to keep them tied up. The first few innings, he was leaving the ball up and they took advantage of it."
Grimm is now 2-4 with a 9.91 ERA in his last eight starts and 7-7 with a 6.37 ERA on the season. With two games to go, Grimm has the seventh-highest ERA before the break in Rangers history among those with at least 15 starts.
"Yes, he's young. Yes, he's growing. Yes, we need him to get better," Washington said. "But today was just one of those days."
This has been one of those weeks for the Rangers. They have already put two pitchers -- Nick Tepesch and Yu Darvish -- on the disabled list in the past week and now they wait to see what happens with Grimm. They have two more games before the All-Star break with Derek Holland and Martin Perez scheduled to pitch.
"We just need to get to the break and give everybody a break," Washington said. "Hopefully, [Alexi] Ogando will come back. We'll get it together. We're not going to stop fighting."
Grimm's troubles began right away. Austin Jackson led off the first with a double down the right-field line and scored on a double by Torii Hunter. Grimm then walked Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder lined a single to right that loaded the bases.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux went to the mound to counsel Grimm, but to little avail. Victor Martinez drew a walk that forced in a second run and Jhonny Peralta lined a double off the left-field wall that made it 4-0.
"The first inning, I just caught too much of the plate," Grimm said.
Grimm struck out Andy Dirks, but Alex Avila flared a single to left to bring home Martinez with the fifth run of the inning. Grimm was then able to get out of the inning by getting Ramon Santiago to ground into a double play.
But it was only a temporary respite. Jackson and Hunter opened the second inning with a pair of singles to put runners on the corners and Cabrera delivered one run with a sacrifice fly to center. Fielder flied out, but Martinez doubled off the left-field wall and Hunter came around to score. The relay throw from third baseman Adrian Beltre had him beat, but Hunter got his hand on the plate before Pierzynski applied the tag.
A single by Peralta put runners at the corners, but Grimm got Dirks to foul out to Pierzynski to end the inning. Grimm then set down the side in order in the third and struck out Hunter to start the fourth. But then he gave up a single to Cabrera and that was the final batter he faced.
"Discouraging? Yeah," Grimm said. "I try to take care of myself as best I can and do all my work between starts. I take pride in staying healthy and going out there every fifth day. This is not what the team needs, especially with what we're going through. Hopefully, I can get back out there as quick as I can."
The Rangers scored both their runs in the fourth on Pierzynski's solo homer and Jurickson Profar's RBI single.